jump to navigation


Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, CLIMATE CHANGE.

It may seem odd that political attention and resources are focused now on Sunni extremists, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and not on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa or Climate Change. We are told that the Government’s focus is to keep Australians safe.

In terms of the severity of consequences this order seems out of whack with reality. If control over some oil fields in Iraq were lost, what would it matter? Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Oil States would still be suppliers. Leave aside the legality of any use of aerial bombardment, in the absence of which makes those charged with carrying out orders, criminals and common mass murderers. Tomahawk missiles, according to Chris Hedges, suck oxygen from the air, killing indiscriminately people who happen to be in the target area. When government ignore the rule of law they are in effect criminals. If international laws does not have enforceable reality, it long past the time when the situation should be fundamentally changed.

In that case, it would be democracy, not truth ,presenting the challenge. As the Scots might attest, the purpose of the nation state is to preserve the prerogative of a dominant ethnic or cultural group. War, based on the injunction of loyalty, is an effective distraction. The war against terrorism, otherwise scapegoating in its purest form, is a tried and tested mechanism of social cohesion and political control together with forms of overt and ultimately expressions of  overt violence. We should not at all be surprised it fundamentally undermines democratic principles and process. Imagine how nation states might have to change to accommodate a democratic global government. Better by far to be ruled by, and leaving control of resources, to violent hierarchical multinational corporations serving the market, often with a tax-free ride.

What is true? At least in the Vedic Tradition, the Good and the True are understood as one.  ( Time out for cognitive dissonance.) Truth may be relative, but it is not a commodity that can be brought and sold.  I had suggested at Catallaxy:

. . . Technology breaks the moulds as is evidence from movable type to the internet. Difficult problems are posed when the story and the stage change. It was ever so. That is I think the fundamental problem posed by climate change. No one can opt out of a planetary problem.

Bruce responded by repudiating the premise:

I might agree with you if there was a planetary problem. There isn’t one.

As I’ve discussed with you in the past, Wmmbb, actual climate sensitivity is below 1 C/doubling. That is because of two natural influences on the global temperature that the IPCC people do not include in their models: solar modulation of cloud cover and the ocean cycles. We’ve recently seen a number of IPCC contributors finding that the ocean cycles neatly explain the recent global temperature trends. When they also include the solar influence, the CAGW issue will be over.

There is no sense solving a problem which doesn’t exist.

Tony Abbott has chosen not unequivocally stated his opinion, but one imagines this is both his opinion of climate change and that of the Government, although not every one in the Government, Greg Hunt and  Malcolm Turnbull may be examples of those with contrary opinions.  Since there is no Ministry for Science, there is no perceived need for scientific advice. The Prime Ministers views have to be those  publicly advocated by the likes of Maurice Newman and Dick Warburton.

If there is nothing to see, why was 2013 the hottest year on record? Scientific truth is the process of making sense of all available evidence and implies an appreciation of the  multivariable dynamic system with embedded  and changing sets of components. Presumably a stable global climate is one subject to external changes, even if that involved internal changes. It is fair to suggest, that is the case that Bruce is claiming to exist and not to have changed. Could climate change be set off by extraterrial, non0-human influences? In that case adaptation, combined with prediction based probability would be the only option. Were that the case, government action would be required.

Michael Mann writes in similar terms:

Giving up on the 2C warming limit, after so much work has been done to motivate this objective and meaningful target for defining dangerous climate change amounts to kicking the can down the road. It simply provides a crutch for those looking for yet another excuse for not doing the tough but necessary work to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations below dangerous levels. Sure, it’s possible that we will fail to stabilize temperatures below 2C warming even given concerted efforts to lower our carbon emissions, but simply discarding this goal would make failure almost certain.

I’m sure the authors mean well, but their prescription is a dangerous one in my view.

If I put Bruce into the Climate Denier camp there is no evidence that can be accepted.  I wonder what effect deforestation and change in change in land use might have had, but it one set of factors interrelated to others. This diagram does factor in cloud cover or ocean currents, but it is not a linear representation:

(reference: Think Progress)

Michael Mann is referring to this set of records of mean temperatures.  The 2 degrees Celsius level seems a long way away.  I am curious as to the explanations for the downturns. Here is a graph :

(Reference: Think Progress.)

Being a Sol Invictus type, I would have expected that would have a direct influence on temperature, or at least there would be causal relationship.  Maybe the direct relationship is with skin cancer and UV radiation. ( I should not make these not fully understood references, even as a joke.)  I had not expected so much variation in the solar activity.

(Reference: NASA.)

Henrik Svensmark’s theory, allowing as with atmospheric carbon dioxide it is a system effect, seems to confront a fundamental problem:

 (Reference: Real Climate, 2006)

The test of any theory is how well it stands up to scrutiny over time.  This video is from 2012:

By this test, the conclusion is that carbon emissions are producing climate change. The process is not linear – probably would not be expected to be – rising temperatures have to be caused by something, and if you can exclude natural processes you are left with one clear conclusion. That is not to say that the process is fully understood, or all the factors at play, and their prepontentiality given changing circumstances, can be exactly foreseen, or that predictions based on retrospect circumstances will foreshadow exactly the future. However, subject to probability, provisional strength of the  fundamental relationship between rising trend in  temperature and increasing levels of  tropospheric carbon dioxide has been established.

Thus if the the Australian Government aims to protect the people who live on this continent, not least those who live on this planet, they thus morally impelled to act constructively to effectively reduce levels of carbon dioxide emissions. Thanks to Bruce for his concise summary. It gets complicated. I still trust the climate scientists to sort things out. It seems the Government believes it knows better.


It seems to me if you are going to assume a conspiracy among climate scientists, then in order to get a sense of the plot, I ought to refer to some of the material produced.

John Abraham & Dana Nuccitelli, Climate Models Accurately Reflect Global Warming When Reflecting Natural Ocean Cycles (The Guardian)

The State of the Climate Report (Bureau of Meteorology)

The Role of Oceanic Feedback in the Climate Response to Doubling CO (2) , Abstract:  AMJ (American Meteorological Society) Journal Online (Volume 25, Issue 21 (November 2012).  I don’t know about the models, but ocean currents and ocean trapping of excess heat is not ignored in the scientific literature.

Joel Norris, Observed Cloud Cover Trends and Global Climate Change (Scripps Institute of Oceanography).   A good source of summary information and the ocean is not ignored. There are some personal judgements.

Cloud Climatology Project, ISCCP. I imagine that satellite imagery is the way to study global cloud formations. It gets complicated.

CO2 Lags Temperature – What does it mean? (Skeptical Science).

How Sensitive is Our Climate (Skeptical Science).

In Extreme Weather More Signs of Human Fingerprints (The Daily Climate).

Rebuttal to Ditch the 2 Degree Warming Goal (Climate Anlytics)

Media Echo Chambers and Climate Change (Yale Project on Climate Communication).  Disagreement is healthy, and the inevitable outcome of democratic dialogue. How then to resolve the issues?

And then there is this summary of misconceptions (via Juan Cole):

There are contrary findings.

Greg Laden, What is the role of the deep ocean in global warming? Climate science deniers get this wrong.

Peter Ellerton, The Ironclad Logic of Conspiracy Theories and How to Break It (The Conversation).

–  I believe  that Bruce is a genuine scientific dissident, rather than an obvious conspiracy theory.

So I should set out my untested personal conspiracy theory.  To be frank, my beliefs are frequently taken to be naive. I am prone to error.  Those features are more often true, than not. However, I would claim that I want that all people to be the best they can be. Minimally, that means that we are not violent to ourselves or  to others. I don’t want to harden my heart against the distortions of humanity, but rather to widen and deepen my vision. I understand we are creatures of our time, our circumstances, our cultural and sociological prisms, and most egregiously, our egotism. Charity and kindness is the very less that can be offered, even if rare in my case.

In its consequences and implications, climate change is a paradigm shift with political and social ramifications. It is not as if market theory is being challenged as such, but rather market behavior, institutional arrangements, prerogatives and privileges.  Of course, motivation is intrinsic to behavior. Truth, despite the internal dictat of scientific method, is not independent of the public relations media technology.  Terrorism is a boon because it means that independent thought and other interests can be closed down as was predictable, and is now underway.

Call me a conspiracy “theorist”, although however insightful, hypotheses are not theories. It is easier to impute the motives of others that to evaluate observational evidence. Climate Change is a theory. It might be refuted by an alternative theory with greater provisional strenght. I rely on Jacob Bronowski on the notion that scientific theories can be acted upon. In this sense Climate Change is a question of prudence as well as public safety.



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: